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Ken Turchi
IU Maurer School of Law

Last modified: Monday, October 24, 2011

Judge who struck down California anti-same-sex marriage law to speak at IU Maurer School of Law

Oct. 24, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A former judge who struck down Proposition 8, the California voter initiative banning same-sex marriage, will deliver a lecture titled "On the Bench and in the Game" at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law on Nov. 3.

Vaughn R. Walker, former chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, ruled on Aug. 4, 2010, in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional under both the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Proposition 8 was a voter initiative-constitutional amendment that eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Hon. Vaughn R. Walker

Vaughn R. Walker

Print-Quality Photo

Walker is the first known gay person to serve as a federal judge. As such, his decision generated controversy not only for its substance, but also because proponents of Proposition 8 asserted that Walker should have recused himself from the case.

A federal judge for 21 years, Walker decided many high-profile cases in civil liberties, securities fraud, national security, and other arenas. He retired from the bench in February 2011.

Walker's remarks will draw on his diverse experience and focus on the role of judges in dealing with politically controversial issues. His ability to discuss the Proposition 8 decision will be limited because it is currently being appealed.

Walker's lecture will be followed by commentary from Charles G. Geyh, associate dean for research and John F. Kimberling Professor of Law at the Maurer School of Law, and Judy Failer, IU associate professor of political science.

The lecture will take place at 3 p.m. in the Maurer School of Law Moot Court Room, 211 S. Indiana Ave., Bloomington. A reception will follow in room 310. Both events are free and open to the public.

Co-sponsors of the event are the Maurer School of Law and its LGBT Alumni Board; the IU Center for Law, Society, and Culture; OUTlaw; the IU College of Arts and Sciences; University Graduate School; the IU Office of Affirmative Action; the IU GLBT Alumni Association; the Indiana Memorial Union Board; and Out at Kelley.